A BOSTON CRIMINAL LAWYERBoston Criminal Defense Lawyer Advocating Vigorously on Your Behalf
Patrick J. Murphy is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who gains genuine satisfaction from defending people accused of committing a wide range of crimes. He has devoted his career to advocating for Massachusetts residents in their times of need, and he provides caring, professional, and experienced guidance to each client. He is skilled at analyzing evidence and cross-examining witnesses, including police officers and experts. Patrick Murphy also understands how to negotiate with the prosecution and knows when it makes sense to take a case to trial. If you have been accused of a motor vehicle offense, a drug crime, assault, domestic violence, theft, or any other felony or misdemeanor, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy. He can also assist you with criminal procedures like having your record sealed or a warrant removed.OUI and Other Motor Vehicle Offenses
Operating under the influence (OUI) is a charge that can result in serious penalties. For example, for a first offense conviction, you may face up to two and a half years in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a five-year license suspension. The penalties are harsher for subsequent convictions. Generally, however, police officers cannot stop you while you are driving unless they have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is being committed. They cannot arrest you without probable cause. In some cases, a criminal defense attorney in the Boston area can help a driver mount a strong defense by challenging the reasons for the stop or the basis for the arrest.
Motor vehicle offenses, including OUI, can be more serious than they initially appear. In some cases, a defendant may even face jail time. Melanie's Law is a Massachusetts law from the early 2000s that established new, harsher criminal penalties for certain OUI offenses, including when the OUI causes a death or serious bodily injury, when the driver is operating the vehicle on a suspended license, and when there is a child under 14 years old in the car.Assault and Battery
Assault and battery occurs when someone intentionally and unjustifiably uses force on someone else. Alternatively, it occurs when somebody intentionally commits a grossly negligent or wanton act that causes an injury to a victim. If you are convicted of assault and battery, you can be punished by up to two years in a house of correction and by a fine of $1,000. However, each case is different, and it is important to retain an experienced lawyer to defend you. Defenses that may be available include self-defense or defense of others, assuming that the force that you used was reasonable and proportionate. In other cases, it may be possible to raise procedural or constitutional errors.Domestic Violence
Assault and battery on a family or household member is considered domestic violence. In 2014, the penalties for domestic violence became more severe than those for other forms of assault and battery. In most cases, if you are convicted of assault and battery against a family member, you will be referred to an expensive, time-consuming batterer's intervention program. If you receive a second or subsequent charge of domestic violence, you can be convicted of a felony and sentenced to up to five years in state prison. The Commonwealth can ask that you be held without bail for up to 120 days at a dangerousness hearing. It is crucial to be represented by an experienced Boston criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested for domestic violence. There may also be consequences in related family law proceedings, such as child custody, so it is important to hire an attorney who understands the complexities of the situation and everything that may be at stake.Drug Crimes
Drug crimes are common in Massachusetts. They can involve possession, possession for sale, trafficking, and manufacturing of controlled substances, such as heroin, marijuana, or prescription pills. Massachusetts imposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, depending on the quantity involved. Mandatory minimum sentences are those to which a judge must adhere, even if they believe them to be too harsh. However, under certain limited circumstances, based on the seriousness of the crime, a judge may be able to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence. Many defenses in drug cases involve search and seizure rules provided by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Generally, evidence will not be admitted if law enforcement seized it outside the scope of the constitutional protections for defendants. The prosecution probably will struggle to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt if they do not have access to the drugs or other tangible evidence involved.Leaving the Scene of Property Damage or Personal Injury
Under Massachusetts General Law c. 90 s. 24, failing to stop after a collision and exchange information with another driver is a misdemeanor that can result in up to two years in jail, a $200 fine, and a minimum 60-day loss of license. There is a mandatory minimum sentence. However, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew of the collision or property damage to get a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident. It may be possible for a criminal defense lawyer in Boston or the surrounding communities to raise a reasonable doubt as to this element of the charge.Student Crimes and Pretrial Diversion
Being convicted of a crime as a student can have an impact on your college career and future prospects. It may undermine your ability to secure financial aid or campus housing. It can affect an F-1 student visa if you are a foreign national, as well as your ability to enroll in further education. In addition to the penalties imposed under the Massachusetts General Laws, your university or college may take disciplinary action against you. If you are in this challenging situation, it is important to retain an attorney who is familiar with pretrial diversion programs. Under MGL c. 276A s. 1-11, you may qualify for pretrial diversion if you are between the ages of 17 and 22, you have been accused of a misdemeanor charged as a first offense, the court has jurisdiction over the crime charged, and you have no warrants for arrest or pending criminal cases in state or federal courts.Probation Violation Hearings
If you have been convicted but have received probation, you will need to follow certain conditions. If a probation officer does not believe that you have been following the conditions imposed, they may give you written notice of an alleged violation. A surrender hearing will be held for either a probation violation or a rearrest. When there is another arrest, the probation department needs to show reliable evidence that there is a new offense. Boston criminal defense lawyer Patrick Murphy may be able to argue that the evidence is not reliable. The rules are not the same in a probation violation hearing as they are at a criminal trial. It is important to retain an attorney who understands these critical distinctions.Warrant Removal/Court Defaults
If you fail to make a court appearance when asked to do so in Massachusetts, the court can issue a default warrant. This gives the police the authority to arrest you. Once this warrant has been issued, the original case is suspended until you come to court to remove the default warrant. You must be notified within 30 days if a default warrant has been issued, and the notification should tell you how to clear the warrant. A default warrant can stop you from acquiring or renewing your license, which can complicate matters for you. There will be additional penalties if you are caught for driving with a suspended license, so you should seek legal counsel to help you try to resolve the situation swiftly.Sealing Criminal Record/CORI
A criminal record can have a big impact on your life, making it difficult to get a job or secure housing. Sealing a criminal record does not actually get rid of it, but it allows you to shield the record from most employers and landlords when they do a CORI check. You are allowed to say that you have no record if you apply for a job or housing after the record is sealed. There is a waiting period of five years for a misdemeanor and 10 years for a felony. A judge can seal cases that were dismissed or concluded with a nolle prosequi or not guilty finding without a wait. Additionally, first-time drug possession convictions can be sealed if there are no probation violations or if there is a continuance without a finding. Certain convictions cannot be sealed, such as crimes against the public, bribes to public officials, buying guns from an unlicensed dealer, or drugging someone for sex.Consult a Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney in Boston or Surrounding Communities
If you are charged with a crime in Massachusetts, you should consult an experienced and skillful criminal defense attorney who can guide you through each step of the process. At the Law Offices of Patrick J. Murphy, we are committed to providing strong defenses to our clients. Patrick Murphy represents defendants across Suffolk, Bristol, Barnstable, Middlesex, Essex, Hampden, Hampshire, and Dukes Counties. Call us at 617-367-0450 or use our online form to set up a confidential appointment to discuss your situation.